dsc_00371Everybody starts somewhere in the bass fishing game. The problem is, once we start, it’s hard to go back and make sure we’ve got it right. And it’s so tough to unlearn things.

That’s why I really appreciate the role of a fishing guide, especially a guide as a teacher.

You can argue every guide puts his own spin on the where and why-for, but let’s face it, they know what they are doing—or they won’t last very long in that service oriented business.

Anyway,  just to get the notion out of my system,I called up SoCal guide Pete Marino (www.petemarinoguideservice.com) to get a feel about how he sees his role, and also to find out what his clients are about these days.

As you would expect, most of the people who hire a guide aren’t hard core bass nuts who have already made up their minds on every notion. Says Pete, “I’d say that 70 to 80 percent of my clients are extremely new or completely new to bass fishing,” and a portion of the rest, he admits, “have never fished before.”

That might be daunting if they’re backlashing $50 sinking baits over 50 feet of water. But Pete appears to avoid too heavy of losses by figuring out ahead of time what will best suit his people. Wisely, he queries would-be clients in advance.

“I ask right away,” says Pete, “What are you trying to get out of this trip? What are you looking to accomplish?”

For some that might be, as he says, “to expand their horizons,” while others just want to catch as many as they can. But Pete’s response is the same: “I accommodate their needs. Once I establish what they are trying to get out of the trip, I do what I can to make it happen.”

For those who really want to learn, not merely get their string stretched, Pete promises (and I assume the other, busier guides do as well) “They might not catch a fish, but they are still going to get an education.”

And then he offered something that encapsulates the best in any “educational” process—that of narrowing the scope so the clients can come away with some real command of the methodology.

Says Pete, “For those who want to learn some new tricks, I recommend (them) learning and perfecting two or three techniques in a day. If you want to learn 10 techniques, you will only get a piece of any of those.”

Also, he won’t make any promises he can’t keep. “I don’t guarantee the fish or the size. But my clients will get to use quality equipment, quality baits on a quality boat.”